Condé Nast Traveller goes on safari in Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka—and sees lots of elephants!


If you want to see elephants in Sri Lanka, go to Udawalawe National Park, says Condé Nast Traveller—“they are everywhere”.

Writes Mary Holland: “A female elephant shepherds her calf between her legs. It scurries beneath her belly, following her trunk and disappearing from my sight as they pass through the tall grass.

“For a moment, I have to remind myself I’m in Sri Lanka, not somewhere in Africa. Despite the Sri Lankan elephant being noticeably smaller and darker than the African elephant, the setting feels similar: thick brush, muddy earth, a large pool of water where the animals drink.”


Although you might be luckey enough to see a leopard or two, she says, “here, at the the Udawalawe National Park in southern Sri Lanka, a four-hour drive from the capital city of Colombo, the elephants are the main attraction”.

“Sri Lanka is one of the few places where Asian elephants can be watched for long periods, just behaving like elephants—not running from cars, not raiding crops, just being elephants.

“On a good afternoon, you’ll catch sight of them around the watering hole alongside water buffalo and dozens of species of birds (there are more than 180 kinds in the park).”


She was in Sri Lanka courtesy of Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, and “we arrive back in time for sunset. Unlike traditional African safaris, where you watch the sun descend over the grassy plains, in Sri Lanka, the backdrop for the sunset is the wild southern ocean.

“After a long day in the national park, I take a walk out onto the caramel beach, dig my toes deep into the sand, and take a dip in the sea. I watch the sun go down, accompanied by an arctic-cold local Lion Lager.

“Today, I was in a national park observing elephants; tomorrow I’m going to learn how to surf. I can’t say that happens on all safaris.”

More here.

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